Thursday, November 20, 2008

38. 1920, Queen of the Occident, VIRGINIA RANDOLPH HARRISON

1920 QUEEN OF THE OCCIDENT. Virginia Harrison, daughter of Gov. Gen. Francis Burton Harrison, reigned alongside Trinidad de Leon, who was named Queen of the Orient.

The 1920 Occidental Queen who shared honors with the Oriental Queen was an obvious choice—she was Virginia Randolph Harrison, daughter of then Philippine Gov. Gen. Francis Burton Harrison with his first wife, the heiress Mary Crocker of San Francisco. Born on 21 Oct. 1901, Virginia had a sister, Barbara, and lived a life of affluence,. The family took residence in a posh address at Fifth Avenue, New York where her parents entertained lavishly.

At age 4, however, her mother tragically died in a car accident in Long Island, New York. It was said that she inherited 2 million dollars from her mother’s fortune, built on their real estate and property business.

YES, VIRGINIA, SHE'S A QUEEN. Official portrait of Virginia Randolph Harrison as Queen of the Occident.

Her selection as queen of the most prestigious event in the country was a form of tribute to her father, who had quite a long tenure as governor of the Philippines (1913-1921) and who was well-loved by Filipinos. After all, he advocated the vision of giving Filipinos expanded roles in running the country. During his term, the number of Americans in Philippine government service was reduced drastically, with more Filipinos taking over their positions.

As an eldest daughter, Virginia acted like a First Lady to his father, joining him as a constant companion in official government and social functions. She also accompanied him in many of his out-of town trips to different parts of the Philippines and regular vacations to Baguio.

WEDDING DAY ANNOUNCEMENT. Newspaper report of the forthcoming engagement of Virginia Harrison and her beau, Capt. Christian Gross.

A year after her reign, she got engaged to Capt. Christian Gross whom she had met earlier in the Philippines. Capt. Gross, a native of Chicago, had been a war hero, with decorations from France, England and the U.S. for bravery during the War. At the time Virginia announced her engagement, Capt. Gross was studying at University of Grenoble, on a French-American scholarship.They were wed in 1922 at Algeciras, Spain, the country where former Gov. Gen Harrison chose to retire. But he would come back to the Philippines to marry for the 5th time—to a Filipina—and would be interred here upon his death, at the Manila North Cemetery.

37. 1920, Queen of the Orient, TRINIDAD ROURA DE LEON

1920 QUEEN OF THE MANILA 'VICTORY' CARNIVAL. Trinidad De Leon y Roura of Bulacan, ta future First Lady of the Philippines and wife to Pres. Manuel Acuna Roxas.

The Manila Carnival started a new decade on a triumphant note, as explained earlier—and for this special Carnival edition, a girl of sterling credentials rightfully reigned as the Queen of the 1920 Victory Carnival. She was Trinidad Roura de Leon, the daughter of the very affluent Senator Ceferino de Leon of San Miguel, Bulacan and Maria Roura, a Catalan mestiza. She would not just reigned as a Queen but would also also become a First Lady of the Land, wife to Pres. Manuel A. Roxas.

THE YOUNG TRINING, as a budding mestiza beauty.

In her time, Trining was considered one of the most gifted young women of Manila society, a combination of beauty, brains and a lively personality. Talented at a young age, Trinidad could recite English and Spanish poems, and could declaim at social events with aplomb. At age 6 though, Trinidad lost her mother and was thus raised by aunts who, nevertheless, showered her with affection. She started school at the Assumption Convent and later became an interna at St. Scholastica.

1920 QUEEN OF THE ORIENT. Trining wore a crown topped with the symbols from the Philippine flag: 3 stars and a sun, inside a triangle.

As a colegiala, she was persuaded to enter the quest for Carnival queenship. For the first time since 1908, two titles—Queen of the Orient and Queen of the Occident—were put at stake. The 16 year old Trinidad won and shared honors with Virginia Harrison, the American winner. In the dual coronation that followed, Trining wore a terno and a flowing collared cape. Her crown was banded tiara, topped with the triangle of the Philippine flag, set with a sun and three stars. Her consort was the handsome Ralph Earnshaw, son of the Manila mayor Tomas Earnshaw.

THE COURT OF VICTORY. Trining's King Consort was Ralph Earnshaw, whose father, Tomas Earnshaw was once the mayor of Manila.

Trining’s court of honor included Amanda Lichauco, Albina Tuason, Teresita Salgado, Felisa Limjap and their escorts Francisco Varona, Francisco Tecson, Alejandro Roces Jr. and Francisco Limjap. Many were certain that the very eligible Ralph would win Trining’s hand—he had pursued her even after the Carnival. But fate intervened when she met an up and coming politico from Capiz, at the house of one of her princesses, less than a year after the national Carnival. But she paid little attention to the young achiever named Manuel Acuña Roxas.

A year later, they met again at a grand ball held on Washington’s Day at the Philippine Columbian. By then, Manuel Roxas was already a Governor of Capiz. The governor danced the night away with Trining and the pair clicked. Pres. Manuel L. Quezon himself, encouraged and supported the match, thus their whirlwind romance was sealed.

The two were married on 14 April 1921 in a private ceremony in a chapel in Sibul Springs, Bulacan—which had been built through the efforts of Trinidad’s mother. The sponsors included Pres. Quezon and her former princess, Teresita Salgado. The newlyweds went home to Capiz in a special coast guard vessel and as when they reached Capiz and rode the streets, people cheered and showered them with flowers. Manuel Roxas would later become a Senate President, and then the first President of the Philippine Republic, a post he assumed from 1946 to his untimely death in 1948.

THE FIRST FAMILY. Trinidad and Manuel A. Roxas, together with their young children, Gerardo ( a future senator, married to Judy Araneta and father of Sen. Mar Roxas) and Ruby Roxas (married to Vicente Roxas).

Trinidad and Manuel had two children, Ruby and Gerardo, a future senator. In fact, Trinidad has the unique honor of having been a daughter of a Senator, wife to a Senator and a mother to a Senator. Today we can add one more title to complete this rare distinction: that of being a grandmother to a Senator--Mar Roxas, Gerardo’s son.


THE 1920 CARNIVAL AUDITORIUM. All the attendant ceremonies of the Carnival were held here, including the royal coronation of the winning Oriental and Occidental Queens.

In 1919, countries were still reeling from the terrible effects of the World War which had ended in 1918. In this time of rebuilding, austerity was the order of the day. But with the looming of a new decade, it was but appropriate to mount a Carnival to celebrate the ‘victory of democracy” in the first world war, however belated. Hence in 1920, the Manila Carnival was also dubbed as the “Victory Carnival and Exposition”.

FLOATS..AND MORE FLOATS. The Victory Carnival of 1920 is known for its record-breaking number of floats that participated in the street parade. Commercial and government bureaus were represented by beautiful car floats like these.

The resumption of the Carnival in 1920 was a cause for jubilation, and that year’s edition was bigger than any ever held before World War I. marked with a record number of floats, the most varied and fabulous in the Carnival’s history.

GAIETY AT THE GATE. A view of the crowd that flocked the gate of the 1920 Manila Carnival.

BEAUTIES ON PARADE. Victory Day was marked by street parades featuring beautiful ladies atop decorated carrozas such as this.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

35. 1918, Queen of the Manila Carnival, ENRIQUETA LASSO DE VEGA ALDANESE

1918 QUEEN OF THE MANILA CARNIVAL. Enriqueta Aldanese y Lasso de Vega, was born of mixed ancestry--Spanish, English, Filipino. She held three beauty titles in 4 years.

The Queen who reigned over the 1918 Manila Carnival was a distinguished Spanish-English mestiza who held a string of beauty titles even before her election. Enriqueta Aldanese had been the Queen of the 1st Cebu Carnival in 1914 and the following year, she became a “Dia España” muse in Zamboanga, an event mcuh celebrated by the Spanish community. This experience must have prepared her for a grander, more competitive pageant, for she eventually became the 1918 winner.

QUEEN OF THE CEBU CARNIVAL 1913-1914. The first of Enriqueta's string of beauty titles. Shown here as the 1st ever Carnival Queen of Cebu.

Enriqueta was born in Sibonga, Cebu to Carlos Owens Aldanese and Carmen Figueroa Lasso de Vega. She lost both parents while still young and came to live with her much older brother, Vicente Aldanese, a Customs official based in Zamboanga. Enriqueta attended convent schools in Cebu and later in Hong Kong. She followed her brother after he was re-assigned to Manila, and it was in the city that was invited to participate in the 1918 Carnival as a beauty candidate. Quickly, four newspapers backed her candidacy, and with such a strong support from La Vanguardia, El Ideal and Mercantil, she won as the 1918 Manila Carnival Queen.

THE QUEEN IN HER ROYAL ROBES. Queen Enriqueta I in one of her official portraits as the Carnival Royal.

The magnificent auditorium erected at Luneta was the site of Enriqueta’s moment of glory. She was escorted by Jose Reyes Galvez and assisted by two princesses and their consorts. She wore a heavy, velvet cape over her gossamer gown cut in vintage European style.

THE 1918 ROYAL ENTOURAGE. Enriqueta's entourage included two maids-in-waiting, 2 pages and her King Consort , Jose Reyes Galvez.

When the Carnival hoopla dimmed and faded, Enriqueta settled down on 19 March 1920, with Jose Paris, an electrical engineer of the Luzon Stevedoring Company. Jose had been one of the first to come a-calling at the Aldanese residence to congratulate the winning queen. They took residence first in Malate, then in Menlo, Pasay in 1929, where they raised three children: Manuel ( a doctor), Menchu and Ditas.

To raise the level of awareness of their children to world events, the family often went globe-trotting, exploring European countries like Spain even with a Civil War going on. With a feel for current world situations, Enriqueta was thus prepared when World War II struck the Philippines. She had stocked up on food and medical provisions for her friends and family, to last for many months. Though their home was bombed and damaged, the family remained unscathed and they proceeded to rebuild their lives after the war.

PENCIL SKETCH OF A YOUNG WIFE. Drawn by Enriqueta's husband, Jose Paris.

Her husband Jose, however, passed away of a heart ailment in March 1944, and outlived him for many years. In the 1980s, Enriqueta had to be hospitalized forvarious illnesses related to old age. Her niece, Pilar, the daughter of her brother Vicente, came to live with her in the same house that she has lived in for over 45 years. Some of her granddaughters like Meg Paris, became top models in the mid 1970s. Enriqueta lived to be in her 80s.

Monday, November 10, 2008

34. 1917, Queen of the Manila Carnival, MELA KAMAKEE FAIRCHILD

1917 QUEEN OF THE MANILA CARNIVAL. Mela Kamakee Fairchild was a daughter of mixed American-Polynesian marriage. She holds the distinction as the only American winner to reign solo at the annual Carnival pageant.

The first and only American to reign solo as a Carnival Queen was the exotic beauty Mela Kamakee Fairchild. Born in Oakland, California in 1898, Mela was a product of a mixed marriage, between George Hendrick Fairchild and Elisabeth Kamakee Cummins, a Hawaiian-American.

Mela’s father, Vermont-born George, had been an adventurous youth, coming to Hawaii to work on his uncle’s sugar cane plantation. After Elisabeth gave birth to Mela in the mainland, the couple returned to Hawaii. In 1912, hearing about the rich business prospects in the new colony that was the Philippines, George came over to set up the Hawaiian-Philippine Sugar Industry in Negros Occidental. He soon diversified into newspaper publishing, and founded The Manila Times, which proved to be successful. It was later sold to Alejandro Roces.

QUEEN MELA'S ENTOURAGE, included Major William Vaughn, whom she would later marry and divorce.
In 1914, Mela joined her parents in the Philippines. She quickly became a popular member of the younger set in Manila’s elite society. When it was time to nominate a candidate to the 1917 Manila Carnival queenship, Mela ran under the sponsorship of Cablenews-American, instead of The Manila Times of which her family was associated. She emerged victorious and reigned over the national pageant with an all-American court.

1917 CARNIVAL MEDAL, featuring the Red Devil, the mascot of the annual event. Medlas were given to major sponsors, various contest winners and participants.

Her consort was Maj. William Vaughn of the U.S. Army. A real-life romance bloomed, and they were married a year later. They had two children, Bradley and Lydia Fairchild. Their marriage ended in divorce and Mela remarried much later, in 1935, to Scot Gordon Mackay. Gordon was well-known to many Filipinos and counts Carlos P. Romulo (himself, married to the 1923 Carnival Queen, Virginia Llamas) as a friend. Mela and Gordon had a daughter from their union, Joan.

MELA AND GORDON MACKAY. When Mela remarried, it was to Scottish-American Gordon Mackay, a longtime Philippine resident and a good friend to many prominent Filipinos, inclduing Carlos P. Romulo.
Caught up in the terrible World War II, the Mackays were interred at the University of Santo Tomas. Upon release during the Liberation, they went back to the United States on the first army transport out of Manila. But they would later return to the Philippines which they have always considered home.

In 1965, while on a European tour, Mela fell sick. She was diagnosed to have cancer. She asked to be taken back to Manila where she died two years later. Daughter Joan first married David Anderson, and then Hamilton Powhatan Parrish and settled in the country that her parents have come to love, taking residence in Makati with her husband and children Linda Anderson, Robert and Peter Parrish.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

33. 1916, Queen of the Manila Carnival, MANOLITA DELGADO BARRETTO

1916 QUEEN OF THE MANILA CARNIVAL. 16 year old Manolita Barretto y Delgado, an Assumption Convent student, at the time of her Carnival victory.

The Manila Carnival of 1916 proved to be another grand event what with petit carnivals spreading all over the country, fanning further the interest of Filipinos for the grand national pageant. Paco district, for instance, held its own carnival, featuring airplane stunts and other aero-acrobatics that were a hit in the earlier 1911 carnival.

MESTIZA BEAUTY. Manolita had striking Eurasian features that elicited adoration from the Carnival audince as well as her admirers.

To reign over the merrymaking, another Spanish mestiza was selected to become the Queen of the 1916 Manila Carnival. She was 16 year old Manolita Barretto, born at the start of a new century, the elder of two daughters of Don Alberto Barretto of Zambales and Dna. Bonifacia Delgado of Bulacan. Don Alberto was a former Secretary of Finance and had an executive position as president of Cebu Portland Cement. Bonifacia, on the other hand, was also well-connected. Her brother, Francisco, was a Senator and later became an Ambassador to the United Nations. Manolita had a younger sister, Maring, six years her junior. The two attended the Assumption Convent from primary grade to high school.

THE YOUNG MANOLITA. A fair complexion, a great form and figure and an impeccable lineage, characterized Manolita's winning beauty.

At the onset, the family didn’t seem too concerned about Manolita’s candidacy. Two avid promoters were Don Luis Yangco and Don Antonio Roxas. They worked hard to ensure her victory, and when she won, people took note of her beautiful Eurasian features, her form and figure-- striking even by today’s standards.

THE ROYAL ENSEMBLE. Jose 'Johnny' Chuidian escorted Manolita at her big night. She was attended by 2 page boys and a maid of honor.

Her sister Maring remembered her Coronation Night, at which she was the center of attention with the dashing Jose Chuidian as her King Consort. “Cannons boomed…there were dazzling display of fireworks..colorful costumes and brilliant dances”. She was in a European-style gown and a gem-encrusted crown while her consort wore a short cape over a white military regalia.

Thereafter, Manolita’s social calendar was always full, becoming a much-sought after invitee of Manila society. But three years after her reign, she turned her back on all these to become the wife of Augusto Gonzales, a scion of a prosperous family from Rosales, Pangasinan. (Augusto’s first cousin, Nieves Gonzales, was herself the 1919 Pangasinan Carnival Queen. She would eventually marry Manuel Moran, and their grandchild, Margie Moran would become the 1973 Miss Universe).

MANOLITA IN HER GOLDEN YEARS. Taken the year before her death, Manolita still retained her mestiza beauty that earned her fame and adulation at the 1916 Manila Carnival.

The Gonzales couple settled in bucolic Pangasinan to raise 4 children: Augusto Jr., Federico, Oscar and Lourdes. The marriage ended in divorce in 1927 and 5 years later, Manolita married Ramon Roces. No child was born from this union.

Manolita died in Manila on 25 May 1965 from a liver ailment at the age of 65.